The New Search Landscape – some takeaways from SMX East

Last week the great and the good of the US search business attended SMX East. With over 50 sessions and notable keynotes, the event in New York took a deep dive into the world of Search engine Marketing and SEO.

With such a wealth of data and insight being shared at the event, I have put together a brief overview of some of the more pertinent highlights and how ‘Search’, though changing, plays such an even more important role for business in today’s connected and commercial savvy society.

Millennials driving change

Ignore at your peril. The growth of the millennial buyer is common knowledge in the consumer market. However, millennials as a group are influencing and making decisions in the B2B sector.

The research by Forrester highlighted that the new generation of buyer is always on, far more informed and less tolerant.

Key points:

  1. Millennials demand real engagement from brands
  2. They have no patience for poor quality
  3. Authenticity is highly valued
  4. Their attention span is short
  5. They look for experiences

On a rather more sobering thought, millennials will also be part of massive transfer of wealth in the future when their parents die, to the tune of some $7 trillion.

Apple Devices Driving More Search Than Android in US [comScore]

Though this headline is quite dramatic, it is important to highlight, that the vast majority of search volume coming from iOS devices is being driven through Google.

The comScore data is interesting as it taps into the growing use of mobile but states that there are more search queries coming from PCs than mobile devices. This clashes a little with Google’s data that says the mobile has now surpassed desktop, however, comScore is also taking data from AOL, Bing and Yahoo. Either way the trend is clear, mobile has to be central to business and marketing planning.

Other points:

  • Total digital media usage has grown 49 percent, with mobile apps having grown 90 percent (June 2013 vs. June 2015)
  • Mobile search accounts for 30 percent of all search activity (Q4 2014), with smartphones driving a greater share (20 percent) than tablets
  • 80 percent of time spent on the internet (via mobile) is spent on three apps

In conclusion, the event summed up what the market has being reflecting over the past 12 months. Search as a standalone powerhouse has changed and is changing, what remains is the importance of Search as part of a widening marketing mix.


Reggie James
Having built and sold various technology businesses over the years, Reggie heads the consultancy and commercial side of the business. Approachable and pragmatic, Reggie previously ran the first dot-com to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange as well as developing business strategies for brands whilst at AltaVista and Yahoo! before launching Digital Clarity. As a passive investor, he is also involved in the US public OTC markets.